“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16)
There’s a moment in “My Fair Lady” when the heroine -exploding in frustration at her young admirer’s empty ardor- sings: “Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words! … Don’t talk of stars burning above; If you’re in love, Show me!” That is to say: What is the evidence of your stated condition? Show me!
James (2:14-17) was quite clear: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?” The evidence of [internal] faith is [external] deeds. Are you living out what you believe? He’s explicit: Clothe the homeless, feed the hungry.
John takes it further. At the cross, Jesus exemplified love forever. “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” And so, “This is how we know what love is.” Jesus gave it shape and substance.
And even this cannot be allowed to become a memory to be theologised and theorised over. It needs must -Lord help us! -be re-enacted daily. “We ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
What does that mean for us? The principle is obvious: if the evidence of faith is works, the evidence of love is sacrifice.
If we live out of what we believe, then the question is how far will our love take us?